JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Kendra Norman-Bellamy, editor of Fifteen Years
Fifteen years after being taken from Thomas and Joanne Smith (his foster parents), and Sammy and Patrice (his foster siblings), 30-year-old Josiah Tucker, a successful corporate executive on the outside, but a broken man on the inside, seeks to reconnect to his “life-line” in hopes of also finding himself and a renewed faith in God.
But he finds more than he bargained for, and the reality of it all has the capability to make him a more tortured soul than he ever was before his mission began. A lot about the people you love (and the way your heart loves them) can change in fifteen years…
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write Fifteen Years?
Kendra Norma-Bellamy: Over the years, inside and outside of the literary industry, I have seen people rise to a certain level of fame and basically push aside those who pointed them in the right direction; those who played a vital role in equipping them and preparing them for their pending success.
I wanted to address the importance of remaining humble and not forgetting the bridges that brought us over. When good seeds are sown in our lives, it is because God favored us enough to place a capable sower in our path who took time to nurture us.
Regardless of how much success we gain over time, we never know when life will bring us full circle and we may need to go back to our humble beginnings and find refuge or other assistance. If we burn the bridges, we don’t have a pathway to get us back to where we need to go.
JP: What sets Fifteen Years apart from other novels in its genre?
KNB: Fifteen Years is a story about un-biological family and how important a role that they can play in one’s life. It touches on thought-provoking topics such as foster care, drug abuse, child neglect, broken homes, forbidden love, family secrets, and it even addresses the subject of autism and speech impediments and how those challenges can affect the mental and social growth of a person.
It’s a drama-packed, fast-paced Christian based story that I hope will keep readers turning the pages to see what happens next. It’s one of those stories that make you go, “Hmmmm…”
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to Fifteen Years getting out to the public?
KNB: There is only one master key to my success, and that’s Christ. He orchestrated it all. I never could have planned it the way that it happened, so it was certainly a divine set-up. I’ve had wonderful people who were placed in my life along the way. Some were placed for a reason, others for a season, and then there are those who are lifetime connections.
But whatever capacity that they played, or still play in the success of my career, God is still at the root of it. For Fifteen Years in particular, I have a great backing in Moody Publishers. They have set very capable people in place to market this book worldwide through many avenues including blog tours such as the one that landed me a spot with you, Joey.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish Fifteen Years?
KNB: I begin each day with prayer. Before I type the first word on my work in progress, I talk to God. It’s crucial to me that my stories not only entertain, but that they encourage and spiritually inspire readers. It’s only after prayer that I sit to begin my work.
I don’t do preliminary preparation like chapter outlines and such. There is nothing wrong with that; it’s a process that works great for other writers, but it’s not the way my creativity flows.
I simply sit at my computer and type out the story as God directs. Including the editing that I did once I finished writing the story, Fifteen Years took about four months to complete from start to finish.
JP: What’s next for Kendra Norma-Bellamy?
KNB: Well, I have two more books that will release before the end of 2010, and I’m excited about them both for different reasons. My next book, Song of Solomon, will come out in July, and I will be touring Mississippi and Louisiana to meet with book clubs who will be hosting release celebrations for it.
And then my first nonfiction/ministerial book entitled, I Shall Not Die, will release in October. Because this book is based on my true-to-life tragedies and triumps, it is very dear to my heart, and I know that it will minister to people on a different level than any of my fictional novels have.
Additionally, I’m gearing up for the 4th launching of Cruisin’ For Christ (a cruise that celebrates Christian artists and artistries) which will take place in June of 2011. It’s definitely going to be a busy year, but in this business, busy is a good thing. I’m very grateful, and I feel abundantly blessed.
Recent author awards Kendra Norman-Bellamy include: 2010 Induction into Who’s Who in Black Atlanta (for the fifth consecutive year) and winning 2008 Best Christian Fiction Award from the African American Literary Awards Show.
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